Student Finance

Student Council Tax

By Ben Maples  · Feb 16th 2022

As you may or may not know, moving into student accommodation is likely to incur council tax student charges.


With student council tax, there is a fair amount that students won't have been told before they go to university, so we’ve put together a useful guide on student council tax.

Here we will show you how to get exempt from council tax student and how to apply for council tax student exemption.

Part time student council tax

Do you pay council tax when you are a student?

This will depend on your student status, but for the most part, university students don't pay council tax of any kind.

Students will need to qualify through certain criteria, but for the most part, you will be pardoned from student council tax.

Being a “disregarded person” means you are not expected to pay council tax under any circumstances.

How to apply for student council tax exemption?

Of course, all students want to have their council tax exemption certificates ready to go, but there are a few things that students need to be aware of beforehand.

To gain a full council tax exemption, a household must be occupied entirely by full-time students. In this instance, full-time students means students that are on a course for a year or longer and must have 21 hours of study every week.

But what about shared accommodation?

Well, for a student living with a non-student, there will still be a council tax charge, but students will not have to pay.

It can get trickier still, if there is a house of full-time students but there is one who is not a full-time student, then, unfortunately, they will have to pay the council tax themselves, although they will get a single person discount of 25%.

Council tax discount student

How to get council tax exemption as a student

For a student to qualify for council tax exemption, your local council will need to register you as a “disregarded person”. While that implies a horrible standard that creates a new Arthur Fleck, this is only in the context of council tax and nothing else.

Being a “disregarded person” means you are not expected to pay council tax under any circumstances.

If you fall into any of the below categories, you will be considered a “disregarded person”:

  • A full-time student.
  • Studying any courses up to A Levels and are under 20.
  • Under the age of 25.
  • Student nurse.
  • Working apprentice.
  • Overseas dependent: This is basically a child or partner who cannot legally work in the UK.

There will be other exemptions of course and certain discounts or grants available for different students, but if you fall into the above categories, you will be given disregard status and will have student council tax exemption.

To gain a full council tax exemption, a household must be occupied entirely by full-time students.

What is a student certificate for council tax purposes?

Not all students will be given one, but some local councils will give students a tax exemption certificate.

You won't be needing a student discount for council tax, but since student and council tax don’t go hand-in-hand, you will be getting something that will exempt you from having to pay tax.

Sometimes the council likes to do checks on houses that haven't paid council tax just yet and having a council tax student certificate is likely to save you a lot of money and hassle.

But you must remember to apply! Council tax exemption student only works if you inform your council.

Student discount on council tax

When do you have to start paying council tax after being a student?

You will need to pay council tax as soon as you move into a property.

While you may have been entitled to a council tax student exemption when you were at university, when you leave university, even after completing a postgraduate degree, you will need to start paying council tax, whether you rent or own and there will be no student exemption council tax.

Plenty of students feel that they do not need to inform their local councils of council tax, but those are the ones that end up paying.

Some councils can be lenient on you not letting them know straight away, but why take the risk? It’s best to inform your council as early as possible and not run the risk.

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